A 55-year-old Caroline Springs man has been charged with the alleged murders of missing Victorian campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.
Detectives from the Missing Persons Squad charged the man with two counts of murder after he was questioned for several days by police, he will face court on November 26.
The pair were last heard from on March 20, 2020 while they were camping in the Wonnangatta Valley. The couple’s campsite was discovered by campers on March 21 completely destroyed by fire near Dry River Creek Track. Hill’s vehicle was also found with signs of minor fire damage.
Despite extensive searches and a significant police investigation, the pair are yet to be located.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill said he hopes the “arrest brings us closer to providing the answers the families have been desperately seeking and deserve” after the 20-month long investigation.
“Our heartfelt thoughts are with both the Hill and Clay families. The past 20 months have been an incredibly difficult time for them and their grief remains as raw as ever,” he said.
“This has been an exhaustive and complex criminal investigation which has attracted significant community interest.”
Hill said the investigation would now shift to locating the remains of Russell Hill and Carol Clay.
“While we now have the opportunity to put this matter before the criminal courts, our efforts to locate the remains of Russell and Carol will continue,” he said.
“The investigative efforts relating to this matter, particularly by the Missing Persons Squad, have been extraordinary.
“The investigation has also been supported by a range of specialist units and local police, as well as several external agencies.
“Finally, we would also like to thank the media and members of the public who have provided assistance during the course of this investigation.”
Victorian Police have located an area, on November 25, within the Great Alpine region, with forensic specialists set to search the area over the coming days. Detectives are also still searching for a rusty silver/blue 7×5 trailer with off-road wheels between March and July 2020. Police believe the trailer was sold on Gumtree.
Anyone with any other information regarding Russell and Carol’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.